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tv   KPIX 5 News at 5pm  CBS  August 27, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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from place to place to place likely because of this wind carrying embers from place to place. it's causing a wide swath of damage 16-mile-per-hour winds gusting to 23 and likely the winds will stay elevated until sunset. typically when the winds relax in that area, is once the sun goes down we're at least 2.5 hours until we get there. >> absolutely. and as liz said it's a 7-alarm fire. we are told a strike team from cal fire has been called in to try to help this thing. we saw it get started about 3: 3:45. right along i-80 near the campos parkway air base exit. but we're told this neighborhood -- fairfield high school is just to the south of there. so the neighborhood just to the north, it's being evacuated some houses are. those people are being told to go to the high school as a point of evacuation. >> yeah. daily rub reporter republic
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reporter at the scene showed 15 homes showing smoke or some type of fire. it was reported at about 3:45 in the area eastbound of i-80 at manuel campos parkway and airbase parkway near the freeway and quickly spread. at first it was two homes on fire. now as many as 15 could be showing signs of some kind of smoke and fire there. you can see this home when we started the show it was -- you were seeing flames from the back of the home. now it looks like it's completely engulfed. this is just one of several homes that are potentially on fire there. >> that's a reporter for our sister station out of sacramento. i believe on the phone, catherine bowman a reporter is with us. catherine, can you hear me? >> reporter: i hear you. >> hi. can you tell us where you are when you got there, what you see happening now? >> reporter: well, i drove down north texas and i turned right up marigold and that was just a wall of smoke just thickening in the area and the streets were blocked off at the end of marigold closest to the
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freeway. there are two homes completely [ indiscernible ] heavy flames. there is a wall of flames in the air. right now they have ladder truck with the fire department [ inaudible ] water on the home but they're too far gone at this point. a lot of residents standing around watching. everyone is in shock. >> what agencies can you see helping out fairfield fire? i heard napa county is there? >> reporter: i haven't seen fairfield. cal fire is out here. i think i saw suisun. and then i heard something about trying to assemble a strike team. but that's all i've seen so far but there were some more setting up. there are apartments [ indiscernible ] when i first got on scene there was a wall of flames coming up the back of the apartment complex so i think they were setting up structure protection there. >> can you tell if people have been evacuated? >> you know, when i first got
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here, the right side of the street they had evacuated. i spoke to one family and they had an elderly parent living in one of the homes that's been completely engulfed and they were [ indiscernible ] i heard people were getting moved over to the public safety academy set up at the command center point. >> you're a reporter for? >> the reporter. >> the vacaville reporter. >> thank you so much, catherine. i appreciate the insight. i know you have your job to do. we appreciate it very much. >> once again,. >> reporter: you're welcome. have a good one. >> thank you, catherine. just to recap what we're looking at right here, this is a seven-alarm fire burning near i-80 near fairfield. it started just around 3:30 this afternoon as a grass fire but quickly spread to homes in this very densely populated area. there's a map of the area right now. we've told there's a high school nearby where evacuations are being told to go if they have to leave their homes.
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there's also a park in the area. obviously these dry conditions as paul was alluding to earlier, we were expecting this type of activity possibly in this type of weather. >> this is, unfortunately, the culmination of a dry stretch that goes back to almost christmas where we're running at 10 to 15% of average rainfall. look at this neighborhood, specifically about this neighborhood. there are so many tall trees in this neighborhood with the houses just kind of sitting under them. you get a fire even a small fire that gets carried by the wind. it gets caught into those tall trees and in gets brought back down into a house or into a neighborhood, this right here is -- is the exact opposite of what firefighters would call defensible space. so that neighborhood is going to be in trouble there because you have gusty winds to 23 miles per hour. you have very dry conditions. and under that canopy of trees, you have several houses, many of which have already caught fire. wind is going to stay elevated for a while so mother nature is not going to help when it comes to fighting this. if anything, it's going to
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hurt. >> we have seen some really thick, black smoke. i understand there's an at&t parking lot where a lot of utility trucks were parked and some of those vehicles have been burning. we do have another i believe eyewitness on the phone with us. rob, you worked at radioshack in the neighborhood? >> yup. >> what have you observed throughout the afternoon? hecticness, man. it's been all hecticness, all the fire and ambulances coming through north texas, all the traffic, all the people trying to get away, all the people going towards it, it's pretty crazy. [ screaming in the background ] >> i'm sorry, rob, the last part what you said, i could not hear. i apologize. we're showing pictures from chopper 5 that show structures burning at least two homes. and so much smoke we can't even tell how widespread that is. can you give us some idea? >> i mean, it's pretty much taken over this whole half of
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the neighborhood over here. i can't see much. there's a walmart that i can see directly behind. all i can see is flames coming up and over the hill. >> rob, have they told you to get out of the radioshack right now? >> no. actually, our parking lot is full of people. the dollar tree is full of people. looks like kmart's got all their customers still there. a minute ago i walked out walmart still had all their customers in the parking lot. so it doesn't look like to be a threat to us yet. >> we're told as many as 15 homes could be affected by this fire. are you seeing that? >> yes. actually, it's a very small neighborhood. the houses are quite close together and the way that a lot of the bends and turns come, i mean, all i can do is pray for those families. >> what about neighborhoods -- i mean, excuse me, what about apartments in that neighborhood? from the air i thought i could see some apartment houses. >> yeah. on the edge of the street where marigold meets north texas, there's a whole bunch of
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apartment complexes right there. and i'm actually looking at it on the tv, too. it looks like they are going to be affected severely. >> we are told is that fairfield high school is close to where the fire is. evacuees are being told to go there. are you seeing that that could also be threatened, as well? >> actually fairfield high school should be okay. there's a nice gap between where the fire is and fairfield high as far as just north texas street, two lanes on both sides, not much in the middle for it to catch and fairfield high is actually behind a few more buildings. so they should be pretty protected there. >> rob, could you tell when this thing first was getting going, to us it looked like it started kind of in the dry grass on a hillside close to this neighborhood. >> yeah. real white smoke. i was outside probably around 3:00. so real, real light smoke and then about an hour later when i left to go to the bank, it was pretty severe. like i said, i could see the
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flames coming up and over the hill. >> we're told that the california department of forestry is also assisting fairfield fire. are you seeing multiple agent sits there now? >> yup. actually i have seen benicia so far, i've seen -- i saw the old water truck from napa. so i'm seeing a lot of the area fire departments coming in to help. >> all right. rob, thanks so much. we may be getting back to you. appreciate your insight. rob working at the radioshack in that neighborhood in fairfield. and steve large is on the ground right now as a reporter for out sister station in sacramento. steve, what can you tell us? >> let's just listen in to steve's report. he's in that picture. [ inaudible ] >> okay. he ishe's wrapped up his report. let's give you a recap as we look from chopper 5. some of the agencies and firefighters getting water on the structures
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in fairfield where this fire started at about 3:40 this afternoon. it has grown to a 7-alarm fire. there's a map of the neighborhood. you can see interstate 80 which is running towards sacramento. but fairfield is the neighborhood. marigold drive is the street where these houses have caught on fire at least two houses have been destroyed in this fire. there are apartment houses. here's one that is on fire right now as crews try to get the water on it to save -- at least do some structure protection of the houses around it. >> and as rob mentioned, multiple agencies responding to this fire. he said he saw a fire truck from benicia. we also know california department of forestry is assisting. fairfield fire in aattacking this blaze. as we mentioned it started as a grass fire at about 3:30 this afternoon and quickly spread to this very dense neighborhood of several homes there. one reporter on scene said as many as 15 homes could be shown signs of being threatened by
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this fire if not already affected by the smoke and flames. this is near i-80 where two lanes of traffic have closed down so firefighters can attack it from that side. also, smoke billowing through really affecting traffic in that area. again you're looking at a live picture of crews attacking a fire on one of the homes in this fairfield neighborhood. >> weather is always a factor. let's get over to paul deanno. you were telling us about the winds earlier but look at when the wind isn't strong, paul, these firefighters are just right in the middlest of all that smoke. >> yeah. the wind is very critical here in that d.c. okay, we have a fire. we know this. where is that fire likely to head? with a wind coming from the southwest, anywhere from 16 to 23 miles per hour, you look at what is in the opposite direction, because the winds are blowing from the southwest to the northeast, i'm looking at a map here and if we can call up our map once again, you have three main roads, interstate 80 on the west, you have also you have a highway to the south and a highway north
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texas avenue to the east. what they're likely trying to do is preventing the fire from spreading across north texas street into another neighborhood. you basically have a wall there which is a highway and since the wind is gusting to 23 miles an hour, firefighters likely are trying to save the houses in that immediate neighborhood. but they're also trying to prevent this thing from spreading any farther and thankfully, there is a significant block there this highway, north texas highway, just east of interstate 80. and firefighters are most likely using that as a line of defense, if you will, because the winds are trying to blow everything across that highway into another neighborhood. >> and it jumps. >> if it jumps, then i'm looking at google maps right now, you have another couple of hundred houses on the other side of that highway. so they are going to try to do everything they can to keep this thing from going any farther because the winds are certainly not helping. >> well, and according to our cbs sister station out of sacramento, five homes are now burning in this neighborhood from two jumped to five. so an example of what you're
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talking about, paul, takes from one to the other. now it's up to seven homes, is that correct? did i hear -- okay. it's seven homes in this neighborhood in fairfield, which is on marigold drive, but it's off the interstate at manuel campos parkway and airbase parkway. the fire got started at about 3:40 this afternoon as a vegetation fire. a grass fire. we all know what the fuel is like this year. we have been following the wildfires in other states and, of course, the "rim" fire near yosemite which has grown and we'll update that fire for you later in this newscast. but this is our big concern right now and they have evacuated parts of this neighborhood in fairfield trying to get people out of their homes, out of apartments, and as i was told, over to fairfield high school which is just to the south of the neighborhood. >> yeah. you're watching again crews trying to fight this fire on one of the homes. we're told as many as 7 homes have burned in this area. there you can see a live chopper shot of that dense
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neighborhood right now that's affected by this massive fire that started as a grass fire, again at 3:30. evacuations ordered. people are being told to go to fairfield high school. multiple agencies attacking this fire from cal fire to the department of forestry to fire departments in other counties. now, this particular fire in solano county right now, and we're told by eyewitnesses on the ground that the area is just covered in thick dense black smoke. some of the businesses actually haven't been told to leave the area yet. but they are just standing by watching this. and we're told it started as a mild fire in the field near this neighborhood. and as you can see, quickly spread over the past hour and a half or so. >> it is 7 alarms and as we see crews on the ground getting these fires out of -- put out at homes and trying to protect other homes, we're going to move on now. we'll keep an eye on this and get back to it within the half hour get you updates. but let's move to the other
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large fire. the "rim" fire, 11 days old, still growing near yosemite. it has reached 180,000 acres in the western sierra nevada including the backcountry portion of yosemite national park. it's away from the main part of the national park. those main attractions still open. containment they say is 20%. but some cooler temperatures, higher humidity, are very hopeful this week. they are expected to help suppress the flames. ken bastida is live with mobile5 near the fire with the very latest information for us tonight. ken, what have you got? >> reporter: yeah, hi, allen. we're up here in the hills above tuolumne city. we are not alone. we are with santa clara county fire. they brought in engine 3 from los gatos as the strike team to protect this house right here this is where the turners live, esther and tom. they have lived up here for about 11 years. this is really, really blowing up right across the canyon right now. they have been dealing with it
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for about 10 days now and it's not over yet. tuolumne city population around 1800 on the ground. but in the sky, the pattern is full. a massive air response and a southerly wind, maybe enough to save the town but right now, nothing is guaranteed. >> we're just kind of, you know, until we see flames i guess, you know, that's probably a little risky. but, you know, we're kind of -- we have everything packed, you know, i guess we're just kind of -- we don't want to have to leave. we really don't. you know, we love it up here. and it's just you know -- but it is scary. >> reporter: most of the eastern part of the town is on evacuation notice but so far most people are staying put. >> it's been a little nerve- wracking because the helicopters come right by our house and and comforting to know that they are doing a good job. >> reporter: you have the strike team here from santa clara county. >> they have been fantastic.
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>> reporter: a wind shift a flying ember or more lightning could spell disaster for a town that has flirted with it for 10 days. allen and liz, you know, the turners tell me they have lived up here for 11 years on top of this ridgeline. they have never seen the kind of fire that they have seen the last week and a half. right now it's burning toward twain heart and 108. they are also under evacuation orders to pinecrest lake and fire officials are telling us there is a very good chance that this fire will have to burn itself out. that could be weeks from now when it gets up into the granite in the high country. reporting live from tuolumne city, i'm ken bastida, back to you guys. >> ken, down here, we're reading things about, you know, humidity is going to change a little hopeful in the weather. are you reading that amongst the firefighters up there, that hope? >> reporter: humidity has been very low as you know allen for the past 7 or 8 days, but yeah, they're expecting a little bit of a weather system. paul will know more about that. coming up from the south, we can see some high clouds on the
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way in. the hope is that will bring a little rain to the high country and maybe tame this thing down a bit but there's always the danger we could see dry lightning as we look out to the east here and another helicopter coming in for another load. it's just been nonstop for about 48 hours. they are trying to protect these houses. >> ken bastida in tuolumne city, thank you. now, the flames are now within 10 miles of yosemite's giant sequoias. about 3 dozen of the majestic 2,000-year-old trees are under threat. park service workers are now hosing them down to try to protect them. the bark on the 18 trees can resist fires to a point. but the park superintendent says a bit of burnoff at the bottom could actually be a good thing. >> you burn around the bases, it won't be bad. i mean, some of the seedlings need fire to regenerate. so if we can keep it to low intensity burns, we could actually help the sequoias. >> about 20,000 acres are
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burning in the park. that's about 3% of its overall size. that fire has now reached the hetch hetchy reservoir. and, of course, the system supplies a big portion of the bay area's drinking water. the worry is that falling ash would contaminate the water. the public utilities commission keeping a close eye on that. but they say so far, so good. >> we're monitoring water quality at all times and we have seen no change in water quality, which is why we're continuing normal water operations. >> water quality concerns going to linger though long after that fire is eventually put out. rainfall can sweep leftover ash and debris and mud into the reservoir. the puc is filling backup reservoirs as a precaution doing that as quickly as they can. we are going to detail that process for you tonight at 6:00. back to the breaking news out of fairfield. a grass fire triggering evacuations as it swallows homes in its path. at least five homes have already gone up in flames -- actually, at least 7 homes have gone up in flames and more are
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threatened including right now an apartment complex. fire crews are fighting through plumes of heavy black and white smoke. this seven-alarm vegetation fire sparked just after 3:30 this afternoon on marigold drive near i-80. right now as you can see, flames not letting up. the fire has forced the closure of two lanes of eastbound highway 80 where smoke is blowing across the road. the cause of the blaze it is unknown. >> an update, all lanes of 80 are now open. they just reopened all of those lanes. so that's a bit of good news. >> that's a bit of good news. let's go to paul deanno, who can give us a little bit of an insight as to how the weather is really impacting firefighters here and this fire. >> fairfield summertime windy all goes in the same sentence and the afternoon when you get that contrast of the heat to fairfield's north and east, and then the cool weather to the south and west, they are right in that battle zone and that means wind and today is no exception. we are looking at a sustained windy just checked it has not changed about 16 miles per hour. and current wind gusts in the
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vicinity of 23 miles per hour. what that means is that any smoke, any embers, any flames blowing from the southwest being pushed toward the northeast. we keep hearing about an apartment complex that's in danger. the reason why, all the homes that have burned and where the flames are right now just to the southwest of that apartment complex. if the winds pick up in any way or if embers get carried in that direction, that apartment complex would be threatened by this fire because the wind is blowing from the southwest to the northeast. there's a pretty significant road and highway north texas street just to the east. so firefighters maybe are using that as a wall if you will to stop this fire and contain it in this one neighborhood. but we have been talking about how dry everything is. we're running at about 10% of average rainfall for the year. all the trees that you see, super dry. the grass, the brush, the ground cover if you will, that is also super dry. and a fire like this can spread very quickly because we are dry. you have the flames and in this particular instance you also have the wind gusting up to about 23 miles per hour.
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there's that fire i-80 to the west and north texas street just to the east. that apartment complex, see that little flame icon? is just to the north and east of that. everything is being pushed in that direction. you get just a few embers from a fire it could be a mile or two away in this case just a couple of blocks, if that gets on the rooftop you could have a new fire burning. so i'm sure firefighters are watering that apartment complex downright now. >> so quickly. >> they have lost seven homes already and counting as they get in firefight hopefully under control. we have seen a lot of smoke go from the dark black to the lighter white smoke which is indicative of water on the flames. steve large from our sister station in sacramento filed this report. >> reporter: you have a lot of, a lot of engines on this street on marigold dividing one side of the street from the other. and their number one goal right now despite what you're hearing from darrell that he feels not enough was done to save his home, there's a lot of homes
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that are still standing and completely intact at this point in time. that's what they want to see happen here in this hour. >> well, unfortunately, a lot of people are going to be getting home from their day at work and arrive to see this. hopefully no more than the seven houses that we've seen so far go up in flames in that neighborhood in fairfield. >> yeah. once again, this was a fire that sparked as a grass fire at about 3:30 this afternoon quickly spread to be a seven- alarm fire impacting a densely populated neighborhood. seven homes so far have burned, an apartment complex is currently threatened. we're going to stay on top of this breaking news out of fairfield. and we'll be right back. ,, unbelievable.
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once again, we're following breaking news out of fairfield in solano county right now. this is a seven-alarm fire as you can see crews from multiple agencies trying to fight this blaze on the ground. this is so far seven homes have burned. it began as a grass fire at about 3:30 this afternoon. crews from multiple agencies including the department of forestry and cal fire on the ground fighting this fire. right now an apartment complex is potentially threatened by this fire. and there are evacuations and they're being told to go to fairfield high school. all right. let's bring up the clock. and you can see we are just more than one day away from the closure of the bay bridge. if you haven't given it a thought just yet, now is the time to plan how to get around it. kpix 5's mark kelly live on treasure island.
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you talked with folks from bart, ac transit, the ferries, they have a plan. >> reporter: and allen, all of them have a plan all set up ready to go for when that bay bridge closes. let's start with bart. transportation officials tell us planning for the bay bridge closing has been months in the works. bart is calling this a major undertaking. >> we expect to have 50,000 more miles on our cars every day. >> reporter: for overnight riders, 14 stations will stay open with a transfer at macarthur and for those who use regular commuting hours, bart encourages trying a new time to ease congestion. >> 5:00 to 5:30 this is afternoon. >> reporter: for ac transit a bus system designed to get people over the bridge, no bridge means ac transit has to do something different. here's their plan. >> our service is predicated on having a bridge. and since we don't have a bridge we won't have much service running across the bridge but we will be offering services to various bart stations. >> reporter: going across the
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water on the san francisco bay ferry always an option too, a chance to see work on the new bridge as you make your commute. there will be three more ferries during the week and on the weekend. a spokesman says the recent bart strike taught them something, add more ferries. >> yes, we did. the answer is yes, we have learned and we think we have a good schedule for the public. >> reporter: the next five days will test our public services and for many, our patience too. at this point, the key thing to remember, officials say, is this. >> but right now, the date and time that everyone needs to pay attention to is the bridge closes at 8 p.m. tomorrow on wednesday, and the new bridge opens at 5 a.m. on tuesday. and that's -- those are the dates and times that everyone should be planning their transit based on. >> reporter: so what about folks right here on treasure island? officials say they will have controlled access to san francisco on the bridge's western span. for now, live on treasure island, mark kelly, kpix 5.
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>> and stay with kpix 5 for continuing coverag of the bay bridge shutdown. it closes tomorrow night and opens by next tuesday morning. for advice on getting around the gridlock go to paul, we have been talking about it all evening. the fires in fairfield and yosemite and part of the reason why we were sort of expecting this type of activity was because we haven't had any rain. >> the entire state of california is under drought. extreme in southern california, moderate drought around here. we should have had 15" of rainfall on average. bay area so far this year three. we are one foot below normal when it comes to rain. this is our dry season. we don't usually see much rain this time of year and we won't but we'll have a significant temperature change on the weekend. upper 80s inland through friday. mid-70s near the bay with morning cloud cover. look at the holiday weekend, though. we are going to drop things down 10 degrees away from the water. by sunday, a high of 80. likely staying in the upper 60s
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near the bay. so i'm not looking at rainfall moving in but we'll see a lot more cloud cover, a lot cooler weather moving in for the weekend, you know, the entire state could use some rainfall. this pattern is just not conducive aside from thunderstorms in the sierra but that's not a good thing. if you get the thunder and lightning without the rain you get more fires. >> so we'll be watching a lot of different fire zones over the next several days. >> thank you, sir. a quick update on the fire that is burning in fairfield. seven homes have burned. it went to seven alarms starting at about quarter to 4 this afternoon. started as a grass fire and then jumped to these homes in fairfield near marigold drive went to seven alarms so they have lots of help here. but unfortunately, seven homes destroyed so far. >> and there are evacuations. they are being told to go to fairfield high school, multiple agencies responding to this fire including cal fire and the department of forestry. this is near i-80. we are going to keep you updated on the breaking news
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out of fairfield a seven-alarm fire tonight at 6:00. on to "cbs evening news with scott pelley." >> we are ready to go. >> pelley: the defense secretary awaits the order to retaliate to the poison gas attacker in syria. david martin has learned about the evidence the u.s. has turned up. holly williams with syrian rebels. and we'll have the reunion of a father and son after the massacre. manuel bojorquez is on the california fire. we'll have the story of the boy who was buried alive. dean reynolds on the rescue. >> thanking god for saving our family. >> i have a dream. >> pelley: and james brown discovers that the most famous words of the civil rights movement were never written from dr. king's speech.


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